The Cybersecurity Industry Needs More Women And The Girl Scouts Take The Lead – Charles Leaver

By | March 17, 2018

Written By Kim Foster And Presented By Charles Leaver


It’s clear that cybersecurity is getting more international attention than ever before, and businesses are truly worried if they are training enough security professionals to satisfy growing security threats. While this issue is felt throughout the business world, lots of people did not expect Girl Scouts to hear the call.

Starting this fall, millions of Girl Scouts nationwide have the opportunity to earn cybersecurity badges. Girl Scouts of the U.S.A partnered with Security Company (and Ziften tech partner) Palo Alto Networks to create a curriculum that educates girls about the fundamentals of computer security. According to Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of GSUSA, they developed the program based on need from the ladies themselves to safeguard themselves, their computers, and their household networks.

The timing is good, considering that in accordance with a study launched in 2017 by (ISC), 1.8 million cybersecurity positions will be unfilled by 2022. Factor in increased demand for security pros with stagnant development for ladies – only 11 percent for the past few years – our cybersecurity staffing problems are poised to get worse without substantial effort on behalf of the industry for better inclusion.

Obviously, we cannot depend on the Girl Scouts to do all of the heavy lifting. Broader instructional efforts are a must: according to the Computing Technology Industry Association, 69 percent of U.S. ladies who do not have a profession in infotech pointed out not being aware exactly what opportunities were offered to them as the reason they did not pursue one. One of the great untapped opportunities of our market is the recruitment of more varied experts. Targeted curricula and increased awareness must be high concern. Raytheon’s Ladies Cyber Security Scholarship is a fine example.

To gain the benefits of having women invested in shaping the future of innovation, it is necessary to eliminate the exclusionary understanding of “the boys’ club” and keep in mind the groundbreaking contributions made by females of the past. Numerous folk know that the very first computer programmer was a woman – Ada Lovelace. Then there is the work of other well-known pioneers such as Grace Hopper, Hedy Lamarr, or Ida Rhodes, all who may stimulate some vague recollection amongst those in our industry. Female mathematicians developed programs for one of the world’s very first totally electronic general-purpose computers: Kay McNulty, Jean Jennings Bartik, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Meltzer, Fran Bilas, and Ruth Lichterman were simply a few of the first programmers of the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer system (much better referred to as ENIAC), though their essential work was not extensively recognized for over 50 years. In fact, when historians first discovered photos of the women in the mid-1980s, they mistook them for “Fridge Ladies” – models posing in front of the machines.

It’s worth keeping in mind that many think the very same “boys’ club” mentality that neglected the accomplishments of ladies in history has actually resulted in minimal management positions and lower incomes for modern-day women in cybersecurity, along with outright exemption of female luminaries from speaking opportunities at industry conferences. As trends go, omitting intense individuals with suitable knowledge from influencing the cybersecurity industry is an unsustainable one if we hope to stay up to date with the bad guys.

Whether or not we collectively take action to cultivate more inclusive offices – like educating, recruiting, and promoting females in greater numbers – it is heartening to see an organization associated with fundraiser cookies effectively inform a whole market to the fact that ladies are truly thinking about the field. As the Girls Scouts of today are given the tools to pursue a profession in information security, we need to expect that they will become the very women who ultimately reprogram our expectations of what a cybersecurity expert looks like.

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